The one thing all good parents have in common is the desire to raise happy kids. Unfortunately, happiness is not something that can be given to children, it must be found on their own. For parents this can seem like a terrible Catch 22, but in reality raising children to be healthy, confident and resilient are the basic building blocks to future happiness. While parents may not be able to lead children straight to happiness, they can certainly put them on the right road!
Healthy Kids are Happy Kids
Children who have the health and energy to engage in their favourite activities are happy children. To ensure that your children leading the charge, make sure that they:
- Eat a nutritionally balanced diet.
- Take a daily multivitamin.
- Are active for at least thirty minutes every day.
- Live in a “child-proofed” home.
- Understand “stranger danger.”
- Know your emergency contact information at all times.
- Get at least eight hours of sleep per night.
- Are not exposed to second hand smoke, binge drinking or drugs.
- Visit the doctor, dentist and opthamologist regularly.
Confident Kids are Happy Kids
Confident children are happy to try new things, make new friends and bounce back from the consequences of a new venture – whether it be positive or negative. Confident children have high self esteem, and know what makes them happy. To be sure that your children are confident children:
- Focus on each child’s unique strengths and successes.
- Motivate your children to take risks, and deal positively with the outcomes.
- Praise your children often.
- Help your children express their emotions verbally, not physically.
- Criticise your children’s actions, not your children themselves.
- Encourage your children verbally and through your own actions.
- Assist your children when requested.
- Never compare your children to friends or siblings.
- Let your children know they are loved, and show it every day.
Resilient Kids are Happy Kids
Life can throw many twists and turns at us, but raising children who can deal with a change of plan is an important part of raising happy children. Ensure that your children have the inner strength to deal successfully with challenges and set backs by:
- Praising their talents and making them aware of their own worth.
- Helping them to set realistic goals and expectations.
- Fostering their problem solving skills.
- Encouraging their decision making skills.
- Helping them to listen to and communicate with others.
- Developing their sense of compromise and fair play.
- Reminding them that they can learn from their mistakes.
- Reinforcing that both offering and accepting help are admirable.
- Assisting them to develop a broader world view.
- Providing opportunities for adventure and risk, and opportunities to deal with the results.
Though there is sadly no set script for parents to follow to guarantee that their children will be happy, raising children that are healthy, confident and resilient gives them a head start down the road to happiness. As a parent, remember that everyone’s idea of happiness is different and a good parent will accept their children’s definitions, whatever they may be.